UN organizations worried about human situation, call for lifting the siege
The UN organizations working in the besieged Gaza Strip have asserted Wednesday that the human condition in the Strip was deteriorating, accusing the Israeli occupation of aggravating the suffering of the 1.5 million inhabitants living there.
In a press conference held by UNRWA in Gaza city, Dr. Mahmood Dahir, the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Gaza, explained that the press conference was meant to give an assessment of the health condition in the populated Strip, and how much the Israeli siege and vicious war on Gaza had badly affected it.
For his part, Max Gillard, the coordinator of the humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian territories, highlighted the disastrous health and humanitarian conditions in the coastal Strip, underlining that the condition in Gaza is not like the catastrophe in Haiti because “the human catastrophe in Gaza was man-made and must be stopped to allow the people of Gaza to live in dignity”.
He also confirmed that the hermitic Israeli siege on the Strip devastated the health care system and put the lives of 1.5 million Palestinian citizens, including 750,000 children, living there at risk.
Moreover, the UN official warned that the Palestinian economy suffered a strong setback as unemployment and poverty were rapidly increasing as a result of the Israeli blockade that, he emphasized, would have bad effect on mental and health conditions of the Strip’s inhabitants.
He also accused the Israeli occupation of blocking the entry of building materials that left tens of Palestinian hospitals and health clinics bombarded during the Israeli aggression on Gaza more than one year ago unable to carry out their work, stressing that many badly needed medical equipment were banned by the Israeli occupation from entering Gaza.
Furthermore, Gillard hailed the Palestinian doctors and paramedics, asserting that they were skilled but haven’t the needed medical tools and equipments to carry out their job.
He also criticized the Israeli occupation for banning Palestinian medical staff and technicians from leaving the Strip to upgrade their medical skills and to gain more knowledge in the field of medicine.
Tony Lawrence, the head of WHO office in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, explained that no medical care program could survive in isolation from the international community, calling for the immediate opening of all crossing points leading to the tiny Strip in order to keep the 1.5 million Palestinians inhabitants alive.
He also highlighted that the international humanitarian organizations would face serious problems in dealing with another emergency condition if the Israeli occupation attacked Gaza again, adding that the Israeli occupation was duty-bound to ensure the health rights of the people of Gaza.
He also accused the Israeli occupation of banning the Palestinian citizens in Gaza from leaving abroad to receive proper medical treatment, saying, “Had this thing happened in my country Britain or any other country, then it would be the main headline in all international newspapers”.
For her part, Andrea Baker, the representative of the international organizations working in Palestine, the Aida group, vowed to continue working in Palestine although she noted that the health care performance in Gaza must be upgraded, warning that without upgrading it, the health condition would remain inappropriate.